Forums seek input on Battle Ground superintendent

Community can weigh in on ideal qualifications for job

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter



Public meetings

What: Community forums for the superintendent search in Battle Ground.

When: Tuesday. 9:30 a.m., Chief Umtuch Middle School, 700 N.W. Ninth St, Battle Ground. 12:30 p.m., Prairie High School, 11500 N.E. 117th Ave. 6:30 p.m., Amboy Middle School, 22115 N.E. Chelatchie Road, Amboy.

Survey: Pick up a printed copy of a survey or take the survey online at www.battlegroundp...

At a brainstorming session Thursday morning in the library at Amboy Middle School, seven people sat around a table discussing what qualifications they hoped for in the next superintendent of Battle Ground School District.

It was one of six community forums the district is holding to gather input from community members, parents, students and staff at the beginning stage of the superintendent search. In order to achieve maximum participation, the meetings, offered in the south, central and north areas of the district, are offered in the morning, noon and evening.

Three forums were held Thursday. Three more are planned for Tuesday.

Duane Rose, interim superintendent, is attending all six meetings. In addition, he's speaking to community groups throughout the district to solicit their input.

"This is a brainstorm session," said Al Cohen, a consultant with McPherson & Jacobson, the search firm hired by the district to head up the superintendent search. "There's no right or wrong answers."

"We need a superintendent with people skills, personnel skills," said Mike Maloney, principal at Amboy Middle School. "A listener. Someone able to make a decision."

"We should have someone with classroom experience," offered Steve Michaelis, assistant principal. "Someone knowledgeable on educational trends and changes like Common Core and TPEP."

"Someone who will get to know and get involved in the community," said Cheryl Kysar, a parent with two children at the school. Kysar, a Yacolt resident, also is a substitute aide at the school.

"Somebody to talk to our generation (seniors), plain and simple," said Darrell Johnson of Amboy, a former school board member.

Johnson's great-granddaughter attends a district school.

"Sometimes I listen to her tell about what she's doing in school, and I don't understand it," Johnson said.

"The superintendent should live within the district boundaries," said Michaelis.

"And be visible. Do public speaking, forums throughout the district," Maloney said. "Answer questions."

The survey asks the following questions: What are the characteristics/professional skills you feel are particularly desirable in a superintendent? What challenges/issues do you see ahead for the school district in the near future? What are some of the strengths you see in the community? What are some of the strengths/unique qualities you see in the Battle Ground School District?

The search firm will to find and screen suitable candidates, read all the applications, check references and eventually narrow the pool of applicants to semifinalists, said Cohen.

The two or three applicants who are selected as finalists will meet district staff and the Battle Ground community at a series of meet-and-greet events.

The goal is to choose the new superintendent by the end of March.